THERE is NO SAFETY BEHIND LOCKED DOORS. MARRIAGES ARE SACRED, BUT NOT ALL MARRIAGES ARE SAFE. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN THAT HAPPENS BEHIND LOCKED DOORS HAS INCREASED DURING THIS LOCKDOWN. Reports say that intimate partner violence has increased, in fact, doubled during this lockdown period. As complaints surged, the National Commission for Women announced a WhatsApp number (7217735372) to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes.

“As painful as it is to admit that we are being abused, it is even more painful to come to the conclusion that the person we love is someone we cannot afford to be around.”
— Anonymous

The history of domestic violence has been a history of silence and horror, and many families have borne the marks of violence. The body and emotions are damaged, relationships get broken, and the spirit withers. While some remain to tell their stories, some do not even live for their stories to be heard, because their cry for help fell on deaf ears. Sometimes people who have never experienced violence or never been abusive towards anyone find it difficult to believe the story and the sufferings of victims or to feel compassionate towards them, and that makes the victims trapped, alone, and scared. Even the parents and relatives of abused women many times do not respond properly, as they see only the tip of the iceberg of the woman’s suffering. In fact, people do not respond because history has left us with strange views on how men are supposedly superior to the fairer sex. Indian society has been one of the stauncher advocates of this thought. “Patibaghwanhai.” Even many political leaders and religious leaders, who we assume must lead exemplary lives, actually indulge in intimate partner violence that is carried out in secret. This makes the issue all the more sensitive. Many clergymen use Scriptures to reunite the abused and the abuser because they find it difficult to differentiate between marital conflict and an abusive situation. Also, the manipulative husband might pose as genuinely repentant of his violent behavior, and the woman might remain silent because of her fear and lack of social support and economic resources. The counselor or the pastor may hope that prayer might change the violent one, and so they pray for him but fail to confront him. In one case, a lady was advised to go back to her abusive home, and she remarked painfully, “He broke my back, but I had to get right back into his home, forgiving everything.” Because of the lack of support, family violence continues despite passing various Domestic Violence Acts and laws and setting up shelter homes and medical facilities.

How can we stop this? Whose responsibility is it to stop this? Should the community not wake up to the horrible effects of abuse, and strengthen the support structures for the abused and the violated? Be aware of this. I wrote the book – When the Flame Flickers: Emerging from Marital Abuse for creating awareness, so many will arise to support both men and women who are abused by their close ones.

Let us pray and protect the ones who are abused within their own homes by the same people who are supposed to protect them.

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